Friday, January 23, 2015

Our First Night in New Orleans

So…it was our first night in New Orleans and our first night together in Louisiana…ever!  Louisiana has the ‘distinction’ of being the last state in the United States for us to visit together.  We’d at least ‘touched’/crossed the state line of every other state and have extensively traveled in most of them! 

One nice positive about living in East Tennessee is that we can drive to much of the eastern, southern and Midwestern United States in a single day.  Knoxville to New Orleans is a long drive, (10 hours), but it is feasible.  This trip was our Christmas present to each other… 

This is one of the views from our hotel window.  We stayed in the Doubletree by Hilton on Canal Street in downtown New Orleans.  The building in the forefront is Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel and Casino.  This monument to gambling is a huge structure, easily having the biggest ‘footprint’ in the central part of the city. 

This is the front entrance to Harrah’s Hotel and Casino… Yes, I did venture into the casino!  I managed to escape with a loss of just $19.50.  I only play the quarter slots so my risk level is low…as is my tolerance for any significant losses…

We loved seeing palm trees…and of course, everything was decorated for the Christmas Holidays.  Besides limiting my losses at the casino, we also managed to avoid that giant mall across the way…with its big Saks Fifth Avenue anchor store.

Our one complaint about this hotel’s location had to do with parking.  Note the line stretching up the street.  These are hotel guests attempting to check in!  We waited 45 minutes in our car on the street for our chance to give our car to a valet and then check in.  From what we understand, this is an issue every Friday night… FYI there is no self-parking available and valet parking costs $38.00 per night. 

(Note: When I wrote to the hotel stating that we’d enjoyed our stay but that the parking situation was quite unpleasant, we were credited for 2 nights parking expense.  I was impressed!) 

To check out the Doubletree New Orleans by Hilton, just go to  The price was right and so was the location…

This was our view of Canal Street as we began our short 5 block walk toward Bourbon Street and the French Quarter.  There were lots of people on the street with matching traffic.  I personally hadn’t been to New Orleans since before Hurricane Katrina…when I’d been there for a business conference.

Bourbon Street and the French Quarter are alive and well!  At night the street is closed off to traffic and the party begins.  Keep in mind, all of our photos are from early in the evening and we were back at our hotel shortly after 10 PM.  Nevertheless, the party was underway.  Apparently there was a big event for Santas and his elves this evening…

Street entertainers abounded…some of them quite talented and others not so gifted, all trying to coax a dollar or two from the tourists.  The larger groups always drew a crowd.

These are examples of the many well decorated and populated balconies along Bourbon Street.  The first photo is of the Royal Sonesta Hotel, one of the premier hotels that is actually on Bourbon Street.  The second is just one of the balconies on the second floor of the bars and clubs along the way... 

Here are a couple other views along Bourbon Street at night.  There were lots of people in the street and having a good time but at least this early in the evening, there weren’t too many drunks staggering around and we felt safe the entire time we were in the French Quarter.

That gentleman leaning on a stool is an off-duty New Orleans Police Officer working a security detail.  He was fun to talk to…especially for his reaction to the events in Ferguson Missouri.  New Orleans police officers have their own way of dealing with trouble…no tolerance period!

Here are a couple of photos of the inside of Chris Owen’s club on Bourbon Street.  They had a rocking Zydeco band cranking it up! 

Chris Owens is a burlesque performer, club owner and entrepreneur.  She has been a French Quarter fixture and celebrity from the start of the 1960s and into the early 21st century.  Owens is well known in Louisiana and throughout the South.  Tourists visiting the Bourbon Street cannot miss huge posters of her wearing revealing costumes as they walk by her nightclub.

The club was jam packed with patrons.  As per the many reviews on various Internet sites, this is one of the few remaining traditional night clubs in the French Quarter.

Here’s another view of the Royal Sonesta Hotel…in full regalia for the Christmas Season…

This was a perfect time of the year to visit New Orleans.  The weather was moderate…with no rain and reasonable humidity combined with perfect temperatures ranging from cool in the mornings to the 70s in the afternoon.
The streets in the French Quarter lend themselves to great people watching!  Besides the street performers, there are always a few drunks, wedding and bachelor/bachelorette parties, wide-eyed tourists, strippers posing in doorways of their establishments, transvestites/cross dressers walking down the street promoting their shows, etc.  FYI, the cross dressers were far more attractive than the skanky looking strippers!

We stepped inside the Royal Sonesta Hotel to check out their Christmas décor… I must admit that it was like stepping into an oasis after mingling with the crowds outside.  The hotel did a nice job of decorating don’t you think!?  We might just have to consider staying here the next time we visit New Orleans… You can check it out at

That’s about it for now… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by to see what’s happening!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. Looks like you got the trip off to a fine start.

  2. When were you guys in Alaska?

  3. Hi there, Neither the casino nor the hotel you stayed in were there in the '80's when I lived in Nawlins. At least, I don't think the hotel was and know that the casino was NOT. We loved our years there --and had season's tickets to the World's Fair --which we enjoyed almost every night when it was there. Since not many people visited that World's Fair, we locals had it to ourselves. That was pretty special.

  4. NOLA is magical, but it seems at Christmas it's even more so. The extent we gamble is confined to a roll of quarters for me and when it's gone, it's gone and that's the end of that. I'm glad to hear your hotel refunded you the parking. That's an outrageous amount for parking, but things are similar in Key West. The best thing about New Orleans to me is the food and the rest is just window dressing.

  5. I must admit, I never expected to see a quote from Papa like this:
    "the cross dressers were far more attractive than the skanky looking strippers", that gave me a laugh!

  6. what lovely and beautiful place David. Have a nice weekend dear!!

  7. Dear Dave, What a great Christmas present to each other!! I bet this was fun!!